Same Sex-Based Hostile Work Environment Attorney in California

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Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms. Not only can these types of violations be committed by members of the opposite sex, but it can also occur between those of the same sex. Critically, same sex-based hostile working environments are prohibited under both California and federal law. If you were subjected to same sex harassment in the workplace, you might be entitled to pursue legal action.

No one should be made to feel uncomfortable in their work environment. At Optimum Employment Lawyers, we represent employees who have suffered the indignity and humiliation of being harassed or discriminated against due to their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. With compassion and skill, our experienced advocates strive to ensure your employer is held accountable for creating or allowing a hostile work environment.

What is a Same Sex-Based Hostile Work Environment?

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and federal Title VII, workplace sexual harassment is illegal, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by someone of the same sex. Specifically, sex is a protected characteristic under California law — and both same sex and opposite sex harrasment are treated the same. There are many ways in which a same-sex hostile work environment can occur. Threats, lewd comments, harassment based on stereotypes, humiliation, and offensive remarks are just a few examples of prohibited conduct that can give rise to a claim for a same sex-based hostile work environment.

Our lawyers provide experienced representation for same sex-based hostile work environments that occur due to:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Offensive conduct based on sex or sexual orientation
  • Harassment due to gender identity
  • Unwelcome gestures
  • Unwanted touching

Since California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act typically offers more protections in the workplace than the federal Title VII, many lawsuits within the state are brought under California law. In order to have a valid legal claim, the victim must be able to demonstrate that the harassment caused them to be subjectively offended or distressed. Typically, the victim must also prove that the harassment impacted their ability to carry out their job assignment and affected their sense of wellbeing.

In some cases, one incident may be enough to establish a hostile work environment based on the severity or egregiousness of the conduct. However, a court will usually consider whether there was a pattern of such behavior in assessing a hostile work environment.

Specifically, same-sex sexual harassment does not need to be sexual in nature, but it must be based on the victim’s sex in order to create a hostile working environment. If the behavior creates a workplace that is objectively intimidating or offensive, it may be considered a hostile work environment.

What Can You Do if You Were Subjected to a Same-Sex Hostile Work Environment?

Employers in California have a legal duty to ensure a workplace that is free from harassment. If they fail to do so, or take the necessary corrective measures, a victim may be entitled to pursue a legal remedy. Significantly, not only can employers be accountable for their own conduct, but they may also be held liable for the behavior of their employees, clients, and customers as well.

Under California law, an employer is liable for a supervisor's sexual harassment even though the employer did not know about the supervisor's harassment. Being held liable without knowledge of the wrongful conduct is called strict liability. In this way, employers are strictly liable for its supervisors conduct, because the idea is that employers have the responsibility to train and ensure that its supervisors do not engage in sexual harassment. But they can also be liable if they knew or should have known that harassment or unlawful conduct was occurring and failed to take remedial measures.

If you suffered damages as a result of a same-sex hostile work environment, a wide variety of damages may be available. Depending on the circumstances, remedies for a same sex-based hostile work environment can include back pay, front pay, injunctive relief, and reinstatement. Pain and suffering damages may also be awarded, in addition to punitive damages.

Contact an Experienced Southern California Employment Law Attorney

Same sex-based harassment or discrimination in the workplace can take a substantial toll on you emotionally, financially, and psychologically. If you were subjected to this type of conduct in the workplace, you may be eligible to take legal action. Providing knowledgeable counsel and experienced representation, the attorneys at Optimum Employment Lawyers strive to obtain the justice and monetary compensation you deserve for the indignities you suffered in your working environment. Contact us at (949) 954-8181 to schedule a consultation.